Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams questioned the Taoiseach on Tuesday in the Dáil on the future of the Narrow Water Bridge project and the government’s position to it.
Gerry Adams welcomed the Taoiseach’s expression of support and the fact that it will be on the agenda for discussion at the June meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council.
Speaking in the Dáil Teachta Adams said: “I have raised this issue with the Taoiseach many times. The project did not go ahead because of the Government's failure to provide the financial investment needed to supplement the funding from local councils and the European Union.
The Taoiseach will be aware that this has the support of all of the parties in Louth, south Down and south Armagh and that the North-South Ministerial Council of last November stated its unanimous support for this worthy project.”
In his response the Taoiseach said the reason the bridge did not go ahead was because of ‘the scale of the difference between the tender and moneys provided under the Special EU Programmes Body, SEUPB and Newry, Mourne and Louth Councils.
As previously stated, I support this proposal and would like to keep it alive. The issue will be the subject of discussion at the June meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council. I understand that the SEUPB programme is being redrafted and that it is expected the Narrow Water Bridge proposal will be resubmitted. I cannot confirm to the Deputy whether the same proposal will be resubmitted.
Suffice it to say that I would like to see this happen and will support it. Obviously, the moneys previously available under the SEUPB were diverted to the rail line and a number of other issues.’
Gerry Adams concluded: “The Narrow Water Bridge is a hugely important infrastructure project that can provide jobs for a region in desperate need of them and a significant boost to the local economy. Every effort must be made to ensure that this time the bridge is built.”